Each month, CAM spotlights a member whose support has been instrumental to the Museum. Learn who these members are, what they love about the Museum, and why they decided to join. This is a great opportunity to get to know others within the CAM community and celebrate members’ support.
Name: Jim Arsenault
Member level: Contributor
Member Since: 2009
What has been your favorite exhibition at the museum?
It has to be Great Rivers Biennial 2010 with Sarah Frost, Cameron Fuller, and Martin Brief. That was an amazing show, and to think that all three of the artists are from here. That is one of components I appreciate about CAM—its desire to connect with the St. Louis community and the artists within that community.
Do you have a favorite program or event?
By far, it’s CAM’s opening nights. The energy is so high throughout the evening. Plus, it is such a surprise to see the drastic transformation of the gallery spaces—and even common spaces—at the openings. I would think that the curators and exhibition staff would have run out of different ways to curate a show, but it is always a surprise (like TVs in the bathroom). Another program that is done extremely well is City-Wide Open Studios. Having been a volunteer for so long, I have worked every element of that program—helped with the bus tour, worked an alternative space, even poured the beer at the BBQ. You can really get immersed in the St. Louis art world through that program. It puts you down on Cherokee Street at print shops and artist studios. It takes you up to North St. Louis to see the revitalization that the art community is having there. It is just a wonderful way to access St. Louis artists and increase your appreciation for contemporary art.
How would you encourage someone to become a member?
When I started volunteering, I had no idea how many programs and events the Museum did—everything from education programs to Young Friends events. The more I was involved, the more I wanted to support CAM and have the chance to attend the events as a member! I think that once you become a member, you dive in a little deeper and take advantage of what CAM has to offer. You get the chance to have a more intimate relationship with the Museum and the staff. It is something I haven’t experienced in other museums and is truly rewarding.
Would you say you have a passion for contemporary art?
Contemporary art is not always easy to relate to. But you have to drink the Kool-Aid and let your mind be open to something you don’t necessarily understand at first. When you allow yourself to do that, it’s a very rewarding experience. Some of my best memories of the Museum have been watching how the staff reacts when a visitor doesn’t like a show. It’s really easy to say, “If you don’t like, then you don’t get it,” but the staff really cares about hearing what the exhibitions mean to the visitors. CAM’s goal is that visitors continue to think about the exhibition even after they leave…and, hopefully, come back in a few months to experience something new.
Find out more about CAM membership here.
Past Highlighted Members